Slavic Day and Night Goddesses in Folk Art

Lepa Vida: Light and Darkness – Lepa Veda occupied an important place in Slovene folk traditions. Evident proof of this is found not only in numerous folk songs, but also in the vernacular name for the artemisian and metaphoric connotations connected to the character of Fair Vida (Lepa Vida) in Slovene, and it has become a veritable Slovene mythology.

According to a folk song, Veda washers her sick child’s diapers on the sea shore when a black man sails by. Luring her onto his ship, he takes her across the sea into his kingdom. But Vida misses her baby, her husband and her home and keeps asking the sun to take her back home.

Although the sun travels very fast, resting only at noon, Vida follows the sun and returns back home to her husband and child where she is returned. This story is much like Persephone except Persephone was a maiden and Vida is an adult woman, a Mother, wise enough to find her way back home.

day and night goddess

In Slovene mythology, the figure of the mother fair Vida, is similar to a mythical being called Perica, Nocna gospa (Night Lady) or Bozja deklica (deity’s maiden), a beautiful woman in white who is around Springs at night. This connects her to Mokosh, the Slavic goddess of fertility.

Above all Vida is the light aspect of this mythological creature. One of the songs about Vida is a song called Lepa Vida in Kaca (Fair Vida and the Snake). Vida lifts a spell from the snake. And allegorical parallel is the fact that, like the cicada, the snake also sheds its skin, therefor symbolically illustrating rebirth and springs fertile rebirth.

Vida personifies Moon travelling from Sea to Sea and represents the light of the Moon, rather than the sun, because her name denotes “Seeing” as in the illumination and light. The parallels of her poems and folk songs are the ballad of woman.

day and night folk dollPhoenix Notes:
Ultimately this story is about both the sun and moon sides of a woman, her nocturnal nature of her inner life, her unborn children, her dreaming with the moon where her woman’s intuition comes from. The moon goddesses of the night deities.

Her sun or light side comes from her waking life, her obligations and responsibilities, not only as a woman, but for some it includes her family, her children, her parents as they age and her commitments to community.

The Slavic folk charm doll called Day and Night reflects this mythology in the form of folk art, of the positive duality of the inner and outer life of a maiden, mother/adult woman and grandmother throughout her life. This doll protects the home and the household and symbolizes the everyday life, the smallness of the old ways.

day and night folk doll 2.jpgBereginya is basically a combination of  “hearth-mother,” associated with the guardianship, which is a trait of Mokosh. Many similar spirits and daemons among Slavic peoples possess the same powers, differing only in their name but in the forgotten word “Bereginya” its not only about beauty, but also means to praise the goddess and her loyalty.

In Russia such a title is given to a woman, means she is both Eagle and Dove, both above cradle and builder of the nest. Grandmother, mother (adult woman) or maiden always wears a flower crown from loving, unselfishness as sacred, warmth and tenderness.

Older traditions say that Bereginya is a Spirit, and because the Oceans cover 75% of the planet, Spirit is more appropriate. She is from the great realm of protection in spirit form, who later became a Goddess. If we take her to be a spirit, then she is much greater in Ukrainian folklore, she was a Great Spirit or Creator.

Bereginya rules over water (thus emotional energy, and the soul), and is a protector of the family, and a protector of women – which is another trait of Mokošh. Bereginya is from the word “protect” and “charm” and since ancient times it was believed that such amulets keeps the house from the evil eye.



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